The bidding war for Amazon

Massachusetts chose not to specify what tax breaks it would offer Amazon if the tech giant located its second headquarters here, but other states and cities appear to be raising the bar pretty high.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie offered up to $7 billion in tax credits if Amazon put its headquarters in Newark. Chicago and the state of Illinois offered $2 billion in incentives and hinted they would be willing to dig deeper if necessary.

Georgia officials kept the details of their financial proposal under wraps, but Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed  called the offer “the most aggressive economic attraction package that the state of Georgia has ever put forward.” He said Atlanta’s package for Amazon is also a record amount.

By contrast, Massachusetts said next to nothing about what it would offer in tax benefits, although Gov. Charlie Baker said in a letter accompanying Boston’s Amazon bid that “you have my personal commitment to marshal all of what Massachusetts has to offer for your consideration.”

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is hoping the city can make it through Amazon’s first cut before spelling out what it would do financially for the tech giant. Clearly taxes are on Walsh’s mind, as he told Bloomberg that he would favor a dedicated state tax to fund infrastructure projects across Massachusetts.

Some communities are boycotting the Amazon sweepstakes because of the high cost of entry. San Antonio, Texas, for example, wrote an open letter to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos explaining why it wouldn’t be submitting a bid. “This public process is, intentionally or not, creating a bidding war among states and cities,” the city wrote. “Blindly giving away the farm isn’t our style.”

Amazon said it received 238 bids for its second headquarters from 43 states, Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, three Mexican states, and six Canadian provinces. The only US states that did not submit bids were Arkansas, Hawaii, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming.



Nine of the state’s 11 district attorneys take aim at the Senate criminal justice bill in a letter denouncing many provisions of the legislation as overly lenient on criminals. (Boston Globe) A Herald editorial zeroes in a few provisions of the bill, including its retroactive treatment of those serving mandatory drug sentences and changes to consensual sex law, urging the Legislature to “[s]trip the nonsense out of this bill” and then have a conversation about it.

The presidents of Mass. General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital testify against Senate legislation that would take aim at high-priced hospitals like theirs, with MGH chief Peter Slavin calling the bill a “legislative attack.” (State House News)

Lowell City Councilor Rodney Elliott, responding to the mauling death of a 7-year-old by two pit bulls, said the city should petition the Legislature to overturn a law that amounted to a prohibition on pit bull ordinances.(Lowell Sun) One of the pit bulls escaped and traveled more than a mile before being tracked down and killed. (Lowell Sun)

Gov. Charlie Baker and several lawmakers are pushing tougher drunken driving legislation. (Salem News)


Joan Vennochi says two very different pictures of Boston have been painted in recent days — one the cutting-edge, innovation-rich hub described in the city’s Amazon proposal, the other the report card issued by the city’s NAACP branch on enormous racial disparities in opportunity and wealth. (Boston Globe)

A Berkshire Eagle editorial laments the racial, economic, social, and geographic divide that plagues Pittsfield.

In a response to residents’ noise complaints, Milton Town Meeting members voted to restrict construction and landscaping to the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the week and shorter hours on weekends and holidays. (Patriot Ledger)

Lowell City Councilor Bill Samaras and School Committee member Andy Descoteaux both changed their minds on where to locate a high school during the course of the debate. (Lowell Sun)

Marlborough city councilors are rethinking a proposed moratorium on retail recreational marijuana in the city. (MetroWest Daily News)

Plymouth’s efforts to prepare for the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ landing there in 2019 and 2020 are hurting tourism in the short term. (Boston Globe)


President Trump says he will oppose efforts to reduce the pre-tax deduction for 401(k)s, putting an obstacle in the way of GOP leaders who had planned on a cap on the retirement  accounts to help pay for the $1.5 trillion tax cut. Some Republicans are concerned that the ever-changing mind of the president could cripple the proposal. (New York Times)

Matthew Yglesias breaks down a Trump interview from last weekend on Fox Business Channel, and it’s pretty frightening. (Vox)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who recounted last weekend her own experience with workplace sexual harassment, apparently offered a more lighthearted account of the incident when she spoke two decades ago at the memorial service for the professor whom she accused of chasing her around his office. (Boston Globe)

The controversy over Trump’s call to the widow of a soldier killed in Niger continued as the woman said in her first interview the president “made me cry” with his tone and, she believed, the fact he couldn’t remember her husband’s name. (New York Times) Trump, of course, had to respond on Twitter.


The state treasurer’s office seized $17,600 from William Lantigua’s campaign account and listed the money as abandoned after the candidate for mayor in Lawrence failed to file a series of financial disclosure forms. Mayor Daniel Rivera called Lantigua a “habitual, habitual offender.” (Eagle-Tribune)

Two very different views of Worcester emerge in a mayoral debate between incumbent Joseph Petty and challenger Konstantina Lukes. Petty, for example, said downtown Worcester is making a comeback, while Lukes said more than 20 storefronts are vacant. (Telegram & Gazette)

The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination dismissed a complaint by New Bedford mayoral candidate Charlie Perry, a 30-year veteran of the city’s police force, charging Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro with racism because an email Cordeiro sent out contained a quote from Teddy Roosevelt, who Perry believes was a bigot. (Standard-Times)

Joe Battenfeld questions the wisdom of wealthy businessman John Kingston jumpstarting his Republican Senate bid with a speech at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute and says Kingston and fellow moderate Beth Lindstrom could end up splitting the primary vote and delivering the nomination to Trump-backing state Rep. Geoff Diehl. The Globe’s Frank Phillips reports that Kingston tried to convince Lindstrom to abandon race in a meeting they held last month and that he offered to help her financially if she instead sought a House seat or ran for Senate in 2020 against Sen. Ed Markey, an offer that could be illegal under state law.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders rallied for progressive politicos in Somerville and Cambridge. (WBUR)


Roadway traffic and delays at Logan Airport could hurt Boston’s chances at landing Amazon. (Boston Herald)


Brockton school officials are investigating claims by the parents of a 10-year-old boy that his teacher shoved him from behind when she told him to stop talking in class. It is the second allegation against the teacher, who was reportedly suspended for 10 days for the earlier incident. (The Enterprise)

Harvard University and MIT came in first and second, respectively, in U.S. News & World Report’s global university rankings, which is head-scratching since Harvard ranked second and MIT fifth in the magazine’s annual Best Colleges rankings earlier this year. Princeton, the top-ranked college in the earlier list, was ranked ninth in the global list.


MBTA ridership is on a downward trend as customers shift some of their trips to ride-sharing apps, bicycles, and their own two feet. (CommonWealth)

T officials said their new fare collection system, due to be installed by 2020, will be a public-private partnership. (CommonWealth)

T notes: The Green Line extension clears a pricing hurdle and the MBTA prepares to expand a project to coordinate traffic lights to speed buses and Green Line trains through intersections. (CommonWealth)


Fall River officials have agreed to sell an average of nearly 19,000 gallons of water a day — though it could go as high as 88,000 gallons a day — to a controversial proposed natural gas-fired power plant in Rhode Island. (Herald News)


A single justice of the Supreme Judicial Court denied a motion by prosecutors to reinstate the murder conviction of former football player Aaron Hernandez. The guilty verdict was tossed when Hernandez committed suicide while it was under appeal. (Associated Press)

A Braintree karate instructor who was acquitted three years ago on charges of sexually assaulting a child was arrested and charged with child rape in two other separate incidents. (Patriot Ledger)

The state Judicial Conduct Commission is investigating allegations that Thomas Estes, the presiding judge in the Belchertown District Court, forced a court employee into oral sex. (Boston Globe)